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Wednesday, 16 March 1977
Page: 249

Dr KLUGMAN (PROSPECT, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Does the Prime Minister recall the first sentence of his Treasurer's economic statement delivered on 15 February which was to the effect that the year 1 976 was a year of considerable progress towards the aims 'we have set ourselves in bringing Australia's economic problems under control"? Is it a fact that employment in the private sector in Australia during that year fell by 7000 and that it increased in the public sector by about the same number? Does that not show that the Government's policy of slashing the public sector and expanding the private sector is unsuccessful on both counts?

Mr MALCOLM FRASER - I think that the honourable gentleman needs to see the result in terms of total numbers employed against the background of the Commonwealth's own policies and approach in this area to the Commonwealth Public Service, its own direct employees, and also against the background of the totality of its economic policies. The honourable gentleman has a very simple philosophy, namely, that if he spends more money he will provide more employment. Surely he should have learned the lesson from that a long while ago, because in the year 1974-75 when the then Labor Administration increased government spending by 46 per cent or 47 per cent unemployment increased by a figure very close to 200 000 in that one year.

Mr Hunt

Mr MALCOLM FRASER -For Labor I suppose it was a brilliant achievement. During the course of the last year we have taken a number of necessary steps to re-establish a firm basis and security within the Australian economy. We always said that it would take at least a full 3 years to undo the damage that had been done by our predecessors. We have no reason at all to change that judgment.

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